The College Bound Program at Caron Renaissance

Jonathan Salzburg is on a mission to make sure that people in recovery stay on course with their education — at their own pace.

While Jonathan Salzburg was attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, he worked as a graduate assistant in the MBA admissions department. As he reviewed applicants, the qualities that stood out were individuals’ self-awareness, emotional maturity and ability to work in a team. He was often struck by the applicants’ stories — what they’ve been through and where they are now.

He had been searching to find his purpose, and the admissions job at Wharton helped him find it.

After graduating, he accepted a position in the Office of Admissions at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He never imagined this opportunity would be the doorway to finding his niche in the college admissions industry. While working with applicants, he realized there was a large stakeholders group that was under served and needed attention and support: students in recovery. He saw how grateful these students were to have someone who was able to talk to them and understand that their stories are assets.

He loved it.

At Wharton, Salzburg learned how to create sustainable businesses. Working at FAU and engaging with people in recovery made him question how one could help facilitate sustainable recovery. He thought, “High schools have college counselors. Why didn’t treatment centers that are treating the young adult population have them as well?” Realizing there was an opportunity to provide this service, five years ago, he created Recovery EDU as well as a subset, College Recovery Counselors, which provides designated advisors to work with clients within the recovery framework.

He implemented his vision through launching the Recovery EDU College Bound Program at Caron Renaissance, which addresses the individualized needs of college students. “We believe in establishing a therapeutic alliance with our higher educational partners,” he says. “This means actively communicating with school leadership, advisors and professors to ensure our patients are able to continue their education.

It’s important for us to get our patients to see they are not alone; there are other people staying sober in college.
~Jonathan Salzburg the Executive Director of Collegiate Recovery Services at Caron Treatment Centers.

We are also able to support a comprehensive aftercare plan, which can include transitioning back to a university.”

Recovery Campus spoke with Salzburg about his initiatives and the importance of educational planning to substance abuse recovery.

Recovery Campus: Describe the role that continuing on an academic track plays on recovery, no matter the level.

Salzburg: Simply put, it provides hope. Addiction doesn’t have to derail a person’s life. Recovery betters one’s life and so do academics.

In fact, the principles of practicing recovery lend themselves to people being better members of the student community in addition to the overall betterment of the students. Look at the GPA for our sober dorms, for instance: an A-. There’s a consistent theme of their exceptional performance, just like collegiate recovery on a national scale. We know that sustainable recovery is correlated with higher retention rates and GPAs in the college environment.

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